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The Story Of The First African American Face Transplant

There have been fewer than 50 full face transplant recipients in the world. And up until 2019, there had been zero done for African-Americans. 

By the time Robert Chelsea changed all that, he’d already rejected a face offered to him over a year earlier. The skin shade was too light. 

Today, meet Robert and his godson, Everick Brown, and hear the story of what happened.

You’ll also hear about the progress being made in organ and tissue donorship within Black and Brown communities in America, with Dr. Clive Callender, the founder of MOTTEP, which stands for the “National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program”.

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  • Dr. Clive Callender is the founder of MOTTEP - National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program, and Professor of Surgery at Howard University College of Medicine
  • Robert Chelsea is the first African American person - and the oldest - to receive a face transplant
  • Everick Brown is Robert Chelsea’s godson, and the Spokesperson for Donor’s Dream, a non-profit that raises awareness about organ donation

Jessica Severin de Martinez and Catie Talarski contributed to this show.

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